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I love hearing stories of reinvention. Here are some of my favorite ones,
as well as thoughts on mental health and wellness. 



How Kristina Robbins of Sweet Antelope Storytelling Supper Club Started a New Life After 50 by Creating Community for Others.


Kristina Robbins asked herself “who am I when I don’t have to do anything?” and the answer

was someone who turns dinner parties into an art form. At 55, after raising children and caregiving for an ailing parent, Kristina felt it was her turn to do what she had always wanted. She created Sweet Antelope, a dinner party experience with storytelling in Los Angeles.

The parties take place in what feels like the ultimate family home. You enter and you know there is love comfort in this space. The meals are prepared with fresh produce from the backyard and the centerpiece of the evening is the story telling performance. It’s a night of connecting to other humans in a world where devices eat up even the small talk. 

You know you’ve arrived at the right place because you are met on the front porch and are handed a piece of hand stamped balsa wood with your name written on it in cursive. You’ll take that offering to the backyard farm where you’ll be served a cocktail and appetizers. There’s a firepit where you’ll drop that piece of balsa wood but only after you’ve set an intention. The ashes from the fire will be fed into the compost and that’ll be used in the farm creating a full cycle. 

Cocktails are followed by a storytelling performance on the back porch by a professional storyteller, usually a Moth Grand slam winner or stand-up comedian. After that the guests are then seated at tables that hold story telling prompts on the theme of the night. Past themes have included “Smells like Teen Spirit” and “Love Hurts”

Through these prompts you’ll be catapulted past small talk and into real conversations. As Kristina tells it: “You sit down and don’t know anyone, except maybe the person next to you. And we all make judgements about people and who we think they are and then they tell us a story that we didn’t see that coming. People are surprised by other people and feel an emotional connection to someone they barely know, which most people find refreshing, especially in a world where we all think humanity’s a dumpster fire, and, by the end of the night this table has coalesced over a single conversation about something that’s more meaningful to all of them and feels like they’ve bonded and it’s the antidote to what we’re experiencing in the world today” .

Kristina has always chosen a path that left room for her to be with people and have strong relationships. Because of this some of her friendships have lasted 40 years. She feels the voice beneath these choices was “I just want to be as free as humanly possible.” While raising her kids she ran a company that made shorts films for non-profits and causes, something she could do at home and in her own time and be the parent she wanted to be. Even then, she still realized she’d still have to work at carving out the freedom she wanted. She found it in the form of cooking and gardening. Kristina explains it, “In some ways the joy that I got out of cooking and gardening was a way for me to find freedom within the constraints. It was something…an expression that was very personal to me and it was related to nurturing for me.”

The hard-core feminist in her wrestled a bit with this new barefoot in the kitchen version, but she feels Sweet Antelope has been the most authentic expression of herself yet. One of the unexpected joys of starting it was the love she got back from her friends and community, which inspired her even more.

Kristina has created a life where she where she can protect her own mental health. 

She considers the three hours she gardens every morning a form of meditation and by involving her husband and two children, she feels their support as well. Her true gift is creating community and bringing together strangers in a city where it can be hard to connect to others. Good food, ambiance and conversation are primal ways of bonding, leaving her guests feeling a little less alone and a little more in touch with a kinder world.



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If you live in Hollywood, you may occasionally notice faces on the sidewalk made out of found debris. These are the work of Caren McCaleb, a film editor, who walks her dogs there. Caren created a popular Instagram called @sidewalkface after the response she received from showing friends photos of her creations. It started with wanting to add purpose to something that was already pleasurable, walking her dogs. She tasked herself with looking for faces on the sidewalk as she walked. There might be a smashed grapefruit with promise that with some berries and shards of flowers suddenly becomes woman with a slight smile but mournful eyes. The faces always convey some emotion that speaks to the viewer. Caren creates these faces very quickly, like an alchemist, transforming trash into something that brings joy. Like the artist Keith Haring, Caren believes art is for everyone. She works with speed (after all, the dogs are pulling at her) and leaves a little something behind her that will spark joy. Caren likes working with constraints, like using only what is right there and not laboring over them but because she creates rules, she can break them as well. Sometimes, if one is really good, she’ll put a little more into it. The main thing is that they either happen or they don’t, and she is fine with that. She feels the same way about @sidewalkface, not letting it weigh her down if she’s not posting.  It’s all about the process, not the end result.

I love so many things about this project.  The idea of taking what is tossed on the ground and making art out of it, adding purpose to pleasure, self-assigning creativity, and most of all the letting go.  Letting go. It sounds so easy but so many of us struggle with this concept, becoming stuck, depressed or anxious.

What would our lives look like if we freed ourselves from expectations. To accept where we are right now in this moment and that who and what we are is “good enough”. Good enough for now. Not forever, just for now. You don’t have to be there forever, just long enough ground yourself and find your inner strength and get in tune with yourself. This is how you build strength to move forward. Think of a toddler that is running before they can walk, propelling themself into a room. They are moving but they have no idea where they'll end up. With stability and centering they may move slower, but they'll get to where you want to be. You can too.

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As we head into the holidays, many of us will gather with family, some of us with joy and others with a knot in our stomachs, anticipating trouble ahead. Dysfunctional family dynamics are tricky and it's hard for even the most competent, therapized person in the world not to end up fighting with a sibling over Dad's car keys. These patterns are formed so early and are so ingrained, it's hard to not take the bait. When you notice your brother slipping into drunk uncle mode and you feel that tightening in your chest, listen to your body. Slip into the bathroom, take some long deep breathes and splash cold water on your face. This will reset your central nervous system and help you to relocate your adult self. Then, when you feel grounded again, go back out there.

Rinse and repear if necessary.

Dysfunctional family dynamics
Dysfunctional family dynamics

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